Trump administration sets rules on immigration, deportations: U-M experts can comment
Margo Schlanger, professor of law, is a leading authority on civil rights issues and served as the officer for civil rights and civil liberties in the U.S. Department of Homeland Security. She can discuss sanctuary cities and immigration law.
“The DHS enforcement memos just promulgated will make our our immigration adjudication system less accurate, our immigration detention system more dangerous, and our entire immigration system arbitrary and inhumane,” she said. “The details are shocking—deporting people mid-court proceeding, and asking them to participate by phone from Mexico. Charging parents who just want to reunite their families with smuggling.”
William Lopez, a postdoctoral fellow at the School of Social Work, co-authored a community health survey of Latinos in Washtenaw County, Mich., which showed the impact of an immigration raid in the community. He can comment on this, and on Trump’s threat to defund so-called sanctuary cities.
“Deporting undocumented immigrants at the scale encouraged by President Trump will be devastating to communities,” he said. “All undocumented immigrants are connected to families, communities and economies, and their forceful removal is damaging to each of these networks.
“Research has shown that more agents and more collaboration between federal and local government organizations will drive entire communities to avoid any interaction with government authorities of all sorts. This means many will avoid hospitals, calling the police, even driving on public roads or attaining food assistance like SNAP or WIC. There is no way communities can thrive amid this level of enforcement.
“Many say we have not seen immigration enforcement at this scale. Perhaps that is true, but we have seen the large scale imprisonment of immigrants during Japanese internment during World War II. This is a source of national shame, and we should not revisit this history.”
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Ann Lin, associate professor at the Ford School of Public Policy, has studied the most recent federal efforts to reform immigration policies.
“The Migration Policy Institute calculated that by President Barack Obama’s second term, the U.S. was already spending more on immigration enforcement—primarily the Border Patrol and ICE—than all other forms of federal law enforcement combined,” she said. “And President Obama’s immigration enforcement prioritized criminal aliens. Is expanding the reach of immigration enforcement to people who stay in this country illegally but are working, paying taxes and raising families really the best use of taxpayer money?
“People do not have a right to live in any country they choose. Countries have a right to select the people they want to immigrate. But the U.S. has selected people who are here illegally—by employing them, U.S. businesses are saying we need these immigrants, whether the federal government agrees or not. Deporting their labor force threatens to send these businesses into bankruptcy. The right way to end illegal immigration is to find legal ways for companies to hire the people they need to provide goods and services that allow Americans to have such a high standard of living.”
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Juan Cole, professor of history, studies the ongoing political change in the Middle East. He recently wrote on his blog Informed Comment that if undocumented residents of the U.S. who have not committed any other crime here become afraid that they will be arrested on sight, this fear will endanger everyone.
“It is undesirable that this large population avoid getting vaccinations or that battered women should fear to go to the authorities,” he said. “Making law-abiding undocumented people go underground poses substantial health and other risks to the rest of us.”
“Trump’s conviction that there is a crisis of illegal immigration into the United States in 2017 is misplaced. There was a crisis in the 1980s and 1990s, resulting in some 12.2 million undocumented residents of the U.S. by 2007. In the past decade, that number has fallen by nearly a million and a half, to 10.9 million. This is true even though the number of deportations fell in 2013 and 2014.
“Trump says that there are 30 million undocumented residents of the U.S., and alleges that 3 million of them voted in the presidential election. These are imaginary numbers much more imaginary than the square root of -1.”
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Sherrie Kossoudji is an associate professor of social work and adjunct associate professor of economics. She has written numerous articles on the legal status of immigrant workers in the U.S. and the incentives to cross the border illegally. She also has written on wealth disparities for immigrants, and has spent many summers with students on the U.S. border with Mexico to study the impact of immigration policy on the ground.
Kossoudji’s study, “What are the consequences of regularizing undocumented immigrants?” asserts that a policy that does not require employment contracts with a specific employer or where an employer applies on behalf of the undocumented worker is more likely to increase job and occupational mobility, which leads to higher wages for regularized workers.
“As such, policymakers should consider a policy option with few employment restrictions,” she said. “When employment conditions are required, the positive wage impacts of regularization are likely to be muted, as some pathways to the benefits are closed.”
“Policy should be the result of a careful and thoughtful process. Homeland Security memos instead outline rushing in to more draconian deportation processes that strike fear into the hearts of us all. Fear is being used to shatter group trust, to encourage turning people in to be apprehended and to scare people into self deportation.
“The deputation of local law enforcement personnel and expedited removal escalates the militarization of our society and erases due process. The expansion of the definition of criminals to be deported reminds us of human abuses in the past and their consequences. The administration suggests that people not panic. But we should be afraid, very afraid.”
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Arline Geronimus, research professor at the U-M Institute for Social Research and a professor at the School of Public Health, along with Nicole Novak of the Institute for Social Research and Aresha Martinez-Cardoso of the School of Public Health, co-authored a new study that shows that the stress from an historic immigration raid is associated with Latina mothers delivering babies with lower birth weights, and sometimes early. Martinez-Cardoso is also fluent in Spanish.
“The enforcement actions outlined in the new memos expand and entrench anti-immigrant policies and practices that have already been linked to poor health and well-being, not only for undocumented immigrants but also for their documented and U.S.-born family and community members,” Geronimus said.
“Existing enforcement policies have been linked to reduced access to federal nutrition programs and health insurance for U.S. citizen children born to immigrant parents. Furthermore, these policies create conditions for fear, stress and uncertainty that damage social relationships and imbue daily activities with anxiety, further compromising the well-being of undocumented immigrants and the communities they are embedded in.”